hi i'm james tengan in tokyo. here in japan it's a friday evening. welcome to "newsline." here are some of the stories we're following this hour. the tokyo stock market is on a roll. the benchmark nikkei index hit the 20,000 mark for the first time in 15 years. top u.s. and cuban diplomats have met for historic talks in panama. they're looking to end decades of hostility, and restore full diplomatic relations.
and boko haram attacks are forcing thousands of nigerians to flee their country. one boy describes how he got away. bullish investors sent japan's stock market past a key milestone. the benchmark nikkei index touched the 20,000 level today. the first time it's been that high in 15 years. gene otani from the biz desk has more. gene tell us what's got everyone so excited. >> well the key word is touched. because it ended a fraction lower for the day. some investors seem comfortable with corporate japan finally turning a corner. they're buying up shares on expectations that companies will be posting stronger earnings this year. the nikkei index has been inching steadily closer to the 20,000 mark in recent weeks and it finally crossed over today, soon after the markets opened. it didn't stay there long though. some investors started selling shares. that caused the index to close
down 0.15% in 19,907 ending three days of gains. stock dealers at a major securities firm in tokyo let out a loud cheer when the nikkei hit the 20,000 mark. [ applause ] the chief for global equity trading says witnessing the index reach its highest point in 15 years left him optimistic. >> translator: many participants including foreign investors, are entering the market. the overall trading volume is still not so large. there's still room for more money to come in to the market. >> daiwa security group's ceo said the morning's action is merely a milestone marking the next step ahead. >> translator: we expect the nikkei will move higher to reach the 22,000 level by the year end.
the rise would have a positive impact on the real economy. >> he says share prices are rising on hopes japanese companies will put on a stronger performance. he dismisses the view the market is overheating. >> translator: it's symbolic. we are wondering how far it will go after hitting the 20,000 mark. >> translator: i get the impression the indexas somehow managed to reach a milestone. but it doesn't seem to me the economy is improving much. >> key government and business leaders have also commented on the nikkei. chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga sounded a triumphant note. >> translator: it's been two years since the start of the abe administration, and we finally have something to show our policies are working. >> suga said the government will proceed steadily with abenomics aimed at pulling the country out of deflation. economic revitalization minister
akira amari responded to claims thats market is experiencing a mini bubble but said it doesn't have to be seen negatively. >> translator: the greater the bubble, the harder it is to control. but a mini bubble is controllable. i feel we should welcome it in steering the economy. >> amari said investors are beginning to feel an economic upturn with expectations for increased corporate earnings pushing a virtuous cycle. the head of a major japanese business group has cautiously welcomed the nikkei's events. he said the milestone was not so surprising. >> translator: we should be careful about too rapid rises and the prevent -- in the stock market >> hasegawa said if the beneficiaries in the stock market rise spend more japan's personal consumption will get a boost.
the last time the nikkei average hit 20,000 was back in april 2000. that was at the height of the dotcom bubble but not long after the bubble burst. japan's main index has steadily declined since then. concerns over deflation and bad loans made banks drag down share prices in japan. the day after the 9/11 attacks in the united states the nikkei fell below the 10,000 mark for the first time in about 17 years. and in 2003 the benchmark slid below 8,000. the market rose somewhat as the nation's economy began to pick up. in july 2007 the nikkei recovered to the 18,000 mark. but those gains were soon wiped out as concerns spread over the issue of subprime mortgages in the u.s. then lehman brothers failed in 2008 pushing the nikkei downward. it tumbled below 7,000 hitting its lowest level in 26 years. the key index stayed weak due to the effects of the strong yen,
along with the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. in late 2012 prime minister shinzo abe returned to power. some foreign investors began buying japanese stocks on expectations that his abenomics policy would get the economy moving. the bank of japan's massive monetary easing in april 2013 and additional easing in october 2014 weakened the yen. that helped improve the earnings of exporters and pushed up their stock prices. the nikkei 225 climbed back to 16,000 at the end of 2013 and to 18,000 in 2014. share prices have continued to rise this year as japanese companies report higher earnings, and investors expect the u.s. economy to improve. we asked market analysts for their views on the stock rally. >> translator: share prices are rising on improvements in corporate performance, and the economy. i think investors are
optimistic. they believe companies can create a virtuous economic cycle. better performance will lead to more capital investment and rising wages. these will again expand their earnings. >> wako says he expects the nikkei to keep climbing creating more investment and benefit in the real economy. others are less optimistic and warning that the market may be overheating. >> translator: based on recent economic data i don't see any factors that explain such a strong nikkei advance. once investors look at the lackluster reality of the state of the economy, share prices will enter a correction phase. >> fugito cites recent data showing sales at stores and supermarket declining.
share prices have also been rising in the u.s. and europe since the start of this year. in new york the you do industrials hit a record high last month. the tech heavy nasdaq topped 5,000 points for the first time in about 15 years. in europe share prices hit a record high in frankfurt, and london. frankfurt's key index is up by 24% since the start of the year. the french index is up 21%. some experts say global easing is behind the higher share prices. japan's central bank began additional monetary easing in october last year. the european central bank began buying foreign government bonds in a wide range of other assets in march. the bank is trying to stop the eurozone from falling into deflation. since the beginning of this year, canada china and 18 other countries and regions have taken similar measures including key interest rate cuts. the flood of funds from these monetary easing measures is pushing up share prices around the globe. but the u.s. central bank may raise its key interest rate later this year.
market players fear the rate hike will have a negative impact on global economy, pulling funds out of emerging economies to the u.s. turning to other asian markets, investors were in a buying mood across the region. the hang high composite rebounded from yesterday's loss and jumped nearly 2% closing at 4,034. the official data shows china's consumer inflation data unchanged at 1.4% in march. that's far below the government's target of around 3%. many investors speculate that the government will take further stimulus measures. hong kong extended its gains to seven sessions. the hang seng index was up 1.2% at 277,272. for the week the index soared nearly 8%. market watchers say investment from england and china boosted the rally. in south korea the kospi rose after posting losses on thursday reaching its highest level since last july. the index climbed 1.4%.
closing at 2,087. analysts say foreign investors bought up shares on expectations of stronger corporate earnings. sydney was also up 0.6%. buyers focused on energy related stocks after oil prices bounced back overnight in new york. this is how indonesia performed today. down by almost 0.2%. that's it for business news. i'll leave you with the markets. after five decades of hostility the united states could be on the verge of turning
the page in its relations with cuba. top u.s. and cuban foreign affairs officials have held the highest level meeting between the two countries since diplomatic ties were severed in 1961. u.s. secretary of state john kerry and cuban foreign minister bruno rodriguez met in the capital of panama. regional leaders have gathered there to attend the summits of the americas. they agreed their two countries will cooperate to restore full diplomatic ties. it's the first time cuba has been allowed to participate in the summit. the u.s. state department says the high level diplomatic talks were possible as it has completed its review of whether to remove cuba from its list of nations that sponsor terrorism. kerry's likely to have explained the review to his cuban counterpart. a senior state department official said that their discussion was constructive and that they had made progress. observers say kerry and rodriguez likely excused the expected first meeting between u.s. president barack obama and
cuban president raul castro. officials in tokyo are trying to arrange a meeting between the defense ministers of japan and south korea. they're hoping to set a date for next month. the last time defense chiefs from the two countries met was about four years ago. defense minister gen nakatani says he hopes to meet with his south korean counterpart on the sidelines of a conference in singapore in may. >> translator: the north korean missile program poses a serious threat. we want to enhance cooperation with south korea in dealing with such issues. >> nakatani says he hopes to discuss signing a pact on sharing security intelligence. he also wants to explain the government's plan to revise japan's security laws. nakatani noted that senior defense and foreign affairs officials from the two countries are to meet next week. he said arrangements are also being made for a meeting of defense officials from japan, the u.s., and south korea.
a japanese defense think tank says china is pushing forward military reforms. with a view to enhance its actual combat capabilities. the national institute for defense studies has released its annual report on the security situation in east asia. the report claims that chinese president xi jinping's emphasis on the pursuit of active foreign policy is driving the government's unilateral hard-line stance abroad. it says this is evidenced by china's establishment of an air defense identification zone over the east china sea. it also cites the deployment of an oil rig in waters off islands in the south china sea that are also claimed by vietnam. the report also indicates that the chinese military under xi's leadership is pushing forward reforms aimed at enhancing its combat capabilities. it says chinese troops have taken part in multiple exercises that envision actual warfare. that is in contrast with past
drills, which were based on a hypothetical scenario. we asked bonji o'hara about chinese security policies. he's an expert on chinese military. he puts the recent actions of xi jinping's administration into perspective for us. >> china is developing their military capability especially developing modernized equipment like airplanes and ships. but the operational capability is not enough, even now. so now the president xi jinping tried to develop the operation capabilities. there is two reasons. one is the retaliate the united states or deal with u.s. attack china mainland. china is very afraid that the u.s. will attack china militarily very seriously. the second one is the project military force. it is showing military presence.
china trying to build military capabilities and will not stop their behaviors especially in south china sea, before south china sea is only sea in which china can operate the ssbm. ssbm is the nuclear submarine which can launch the ballistic missile to the united states. but on the other hand china must build the good relationship with neighboring countries. especially in the asian countries, including japan. of course they have to develop economic cooperation. >> that was security analyst bonji ohara. the operator of the crippled nuclear plant in northeast japan is employing some high tech help for the decommissioning. officials with tokyo electric power company want to see inside the touch shimmy daiichi
reactor. they've sent a robot for the first time into the containment vessel at the number one reactor. three of the plant's reactors melted down after the march 2011 earthquake and sunni. workers haven't been able to determine the extent of damage or find molten fuel. high levels of radiation are keeping them away. tepco officials put remote controlled robots into the number one reactor containment vessel. they're able to steer the snake-like machine around obstacles. they measure radiation and temperature levels. and the robot's camera allows them to see the damage. until now they've used computer simulations to try to understand what's inside they've gathered results indicating that nuclear fuel has melted and fallen to the bottom of the vessel. tepco officials say they hope the robot will help them gain clues on how best to remove the nuclear fuel. u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon has urged the international community to do everything possible to stop the
ongoing conflicts in yemen. >> the last thing the region and our world need is more of the chaos and crimes we have seen in libya and syria. >> ban told u.n. member states that they need to return to political negotiations and that all parties must participate in good faith. saudi arabia and other sunni muslim arab nations have been conducting airstrikes against shia rebels in yemen who have taken control of the capital sanaa. intense fighting continues in the south between yemeni government troops and rebels. in the last two weeks more than 640 people have been reported killed. and over 330,000 displaced inside the country. the ub security council is divided over how to respond. the u.s. european and sunni arab countries want to put more pressure on yemeni militants for violating security council resolutions. russia is demanding the air strikes be suspended to allow delivery of humanitarian assistance.
nigerians are living under a daily threat of violence from a militant islamist group. they voted for a new president last month who vowed to get tough on boko haram. but some people feel they can't wait for that change and their only choice is to flee. nhk world has the story of one boy's narrow escape. >> this is a refugee camp in chad, neighboring nigeria. a steady stream of new arrivals seeks shelter here from boko haram. many of the children are suffering from malnutrition. the islamic militant group has been fighting government forces in northeastern nigeria. boko haram's cruelty to
children. not only does it kidnap children to use as fighters it also forces them to become suicide bombers. this 16-year-old boy is a refugee here. he escaped from a village in northeastern nigeria. >> translator: boko haram members gathered the men in my village and killed them each in turn. >> reporter: the boy drew a picture of the fighters attacking his village. on the morning of january 3rd he was returning home when he saw his neighborhood in flames. he hid in a nearby house. but he saw a horrifying sight through the window. >> translator: the fighters stopped a bus and climbed onto the hood. then they randomly shot at the passengers.
>> reporter: the boy ran towards where a village elder lived hoping to take shelter with him. but boko haram fighters were there. they were pointing their guns at more than 200 girls they had rounded up. >> translator: one girl i know was forcibly taken away by a man who looked lik a leader of that group of fighters. >> reporter: the boy was terrified. he ran as fast as he could through the village. the streets were filled with fighters and dead bodies. he ran all the way to a large lake. part of the border between nigeria and chad. he jumped into a boat with about ten other people from the area. the boat started to sail away
but just as they thought they were safe gunshots were fired at the boat from the shore. >> translator: this is me on the boat. i helped some people who'd been shot in the leg. but some of them died from their wounds. only five of us survived. >> reporter: the boy lived on a diet of water reid as the boat slowly crossed the lake. after two weeks, they landed in chad, and were rescued by soldiers. he's been at this camp about three months now. he's been asking around trying to get information on his parents and siblings. >> translator: i want to see my family. i hope the world will become a
peaceful place so no more children will suffer. >> reporter: boko haram continues to terrorize nigeria. many people in the country are watching closely whether the new government will be able to curb the group's terrorist activities. nhk world, chad. >> thank you, taro for that report. now on to weather. people in the central u.s. are having to deal with tornadoes, hail, and floods. let's get the latest from our meteorologist sayaka mori. sayaka? >> yes people in the u.s. are suffering from days of severe weather. especially in the central part of the country. we're talking about tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds and heavy rainfall. i want to take you to kansas and missouri to show you the situation. heavy rainfall triggered flash flooding in st. louis, missouri on tuesday. surging waters washed out roads throughout the city.
there were reports of hail and fog in other parts of the city. this footage captures a funnel cloud forming in southern kansas on wednesday. there were nine reports of tornadoes on tuesday nationwide eight reports on wednesday, and 14 reports so far on thursday. and hail the size of a dvrdd was reported in arkansas on thursday. we still have a very intense low pressure system here. this is the boundary of hot air from the ocean and very cold air from the north. so because of the difference in temperature, it's still packing lots of energy enough to cause more severe weather from the southern plains through the deep south, up into the mid-atlantic coast, including washington, d.c. columbia, as well as houston. we still have a risk for severe thunderstorms, damaging winds and also tornadoes into your friday. so, please watch out for the dangerous weather. mostly weather across the east and to the northwest but
snowfall because extremely low temperatures. and then back behind it clear conditions, but temperatures are going down dramatically within just one day. chicago, 14 degrees. that's about 10 degrees cooler than what we saw on thursday. thundershowers along the eastern seaboard including atlanta, and in georgia, the masters tournament is taking place. it's going to be a stormy day on friday with a high of 30 degrees. but nice recovery over the weekend with high of 26 degrees for the high on sunday. now, across japan, heavy rain is pounding the southern portions of the country. actually 230 millimeters rain has been reported in miyazaki. that's actually a month's worth of rain before april. the heavy rain is now shifting towards central japan including tokyo. strong winds are also possible here by saturday noon local time. now back behind it mostly dry for the korean peninsula and the northern half of china. but beneficial rain in the south of china, as well as taiwan. and it's going to be the hottest
time of year actually april is the hottest month of the year for many parts of the indochina peninsula. scorching hot 35 degrees in bangkok. meanwhile, 18 degrees for shanghai and tokyo up to 14 degrees. and i know many of you are wondering when the cold will come to an end. tokyo still chilly actually into saturday. a little warmer on sunday. but down to 11 degrees, so it's going to be more like winter on monday. but tuesday it's quite warm. so look forward to that. now a couple of systems are still affecting the iberian peninsula, and also turkey with stormy conditions. we have one report of tornado in turkey on thursday. this is still packing a lot of moists your enough to cause more flooding rainfall and also thunderstorms over turkey and the middle east. a high pressure dome is blanketing many parts of europe but you can see rain is moving into the british isles by your saturday. temperatures will be may to june-like conditions in many parts of central europe. here's the extended forecast.
godzilla adorns a 30 story cinema complex building. the behemoth has been unveiled ahead of the building's opening next friday. godzilla's giant head towers above about 50 meters above street level. that matches the height of the monster in the early films of the series that started in 1954. the district where the building is located has appointed the globally known monster as its tourism ambassador and it seems he's already doing his job to draw attention. >> it's interesting. i like it. >> translator: i noticed that the building was under construction. i was really surprised that it turned out to be godzilla. >> starting next week people passing by will be able to see godzilla spew smoke and hear his distinctive roar.
nuclear reactors at the heart of talks with francois hollande. the power struggle over yemen defense. a islamabad shows stay out of the conflict. iaid agencies warn of a growing humanitarian crisis. families in kenya began collecting the bodies of their loved ones killed in the massacre. the young leaders of the al-shabaab militant group are held responsible for last